SM Caen 1-0 Stade Rennais: Hosts leapfrog the visitors in Ligue 1 with win

Saidi Ntibazonkiza's second half opener settled the tough contest in Normandy.

SM Caen 1-0 Stade Rennais: Hosts leapfrog the visitors in Ligue 1 with win
Benjamin Andre battles for the ball
SM Caen
1 0
Stade Rennais
SM Caen: Vercoutre; Appiah, Yahia, Da Silva, Bessat; Ntibiazonkiza, Seube (Leborgne), Feret, Bazile (Adeoti); Rodelin, Delort.
Stade Rennais: Costil; Zeffane, Mendes, Armand, M'Bengue; Andre, Fernandes, Gourcuff (Salles-Lamonge); Ntep (Boga), Henrique (Grosicki), Dembele.
SCORE: 1-0, min. 54, Ntibazonkiza.
REFEREE: Tony Chapron.

Relieved sighs and embracing hugs were aplenty at full time as SM Caen defeated Stade Rennais by a single goal in Normandy.

The win for the hosts ends their three match run of defeats in Ligue 1 and places them above their Breton opponents in the table. 

The only goal of the match came on 54 minutes when Said Ntibazonkiza's curled effort found its way past Rennes goalkeeper Benoit Costil

The visitors may think that the result never reflected the action on the pitch with Rennes dominating the possession stats and the number of match passes were stacked well in their favour.

Coming in for Rennes in this tie were Mehdi Zeffane, Pedro Henrique and Yoann Gourcuff, all of which who have had rare or no starts this season. Ex-Rennes man Julien Feret, who had played a part in four of Caen's five recent goals against them, also featured in a less advanced role.

Rennes dominate possession stats but not the scoreline

The game started with both teams trying to find their feet. The game hadn't really settled with Gourcuff going close and Cheikh M'Bengue clearing an effort off the line in the opening seven minutes.

The first period seemed to be a succession of ifs, buts and maybes with plenty of architects but no finishers. 

Rennes' Ousmane Dembele was lively throughout. His best opportunity was a deep cross along the goal mouth that had to be scrambled away by Caen goalkeeper Remy Vercoutre. Bazile made Caen's best chance of the half, teeing up Feret in an advanced position, however the intended target was slow off the mark to get the ball.

Lively second half with a lot of action

Just over five minutes from the restart, Sylvain Armand arguably had Rennes' best chance when his free kick from outside of the box curled around the left post but avoided the target. 

However only three minutes later Caen did take their prime opportunity to go in front through Ntibazonkiza. The goal followed a fantastic block by Costil, however the follow-up ended in the scorer's path and all he had to do was curl the ball around the keeper. 

Caen almost doubled their lead on 61 minutes after a poor clearance by Armand fell to Nicolas Suebe at the edge of the area, but he couldn't keep his volley down.

Arguably the best point of play came through the youngster Dembele. In a move that was vintage Ibrahmovic-esque, the winger evaded four or five close challenges to get a shot away inside the box. Unfortunately for the youth, his shot did not match the build-up and went wide.

The win puts Caen just a point above Rennes in seventh place. Both teams have tough away matches next with Caen going to Saint Etienne while Rennes won't have a comfortable match against Toulouse.